The Ottawa Police are reminding residents that thefts of Lexus and Toyota luxury SUVs and light trucks continue in Ottawa. Over 240 thefts have been reported so far this year. The trend is no longer limited to Lexus/Toyota products.
The vehicles stolen has expanded to include the thefts of all makes and models of vehicles that are equipped with a proximity key (i.e. push-button start). Newer models of Honda CRV, Grand Jeep Cherokee as well as Ford F-Series trucks (higher trim level) have been targeted by thieves in Ottawa in August and September. As many as 46 incidents have been reported to police to date.
Vehicle thefts have also increased in the province of Quebec and the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
In some cases, garbage bags were used to cover sideview mirrors and tail-lights to mask the perimeter lights during the vehicle break-in. Thefts generally occur one of two ways:
- The driver-side door is mechanically breached – at which point thieves access the vehicle’s Engine Control Module (ECM) port to reprogram a new key. This remains the most common type of vehicle theft and it is not deterred by the use of a Radio Frequency Shield (known as a ‘Faraday bag/box’.)
- The Signal Amplification Relay Attack (SARA) is not a common technique in Ottawa – however, police continue to raise public awareness about this means where thieves use an amplification device to amplify the signal emanating from the key fob inside the house. That signal is then relayed to the car which unlocks the vehicle and allows it to be started. This type of theft will be deterred by the use of a Radio Frequency Shield (the Faraday bag/box.)
Vehicle owners are encouraged to consider the following prevention measures:
- Park inside a garage if available (in Ottawa, no vehicle was stolen from inside a garage);
- Block your vehicle in tightly against a second less sought after vehicle;
- Use a steering wheel locks (i.e. “Club”) to deter thieves (keep in mind they can cut the steering wheel to remove it);
- Install an Engine Control Module (ECM) port lock;
- Install an after-market vehicle immobilizer and alarm;
- Install after-market tracking devices or “GPS” – many of these have the ability to “fence in your car” notifying the owner’s smart phone if the vehicle leaves the established perimeter;
- Install motion detection lights and exterior surveillance cameras at home – these can act as a deterrent;
- Keep in mind that thieves have returned to steal the replacement vehicle when a vehicle had been stolen, so remain vigilant;
- Neighbourhood watch is still the best defense – so please report any suspicious activity immediately to police at 613-236-1222.